time running short.

The clock is winding down quickly. It turns out we'll be on the boat Monday-Wednesday of next week, before flying to New Orleans on Thursday, then coming back, cleaning up, and leaving sometime towards the 12th.

We got our shots yesterday, which made our bodies a little confused. My first vaccination in many years, and I'm glad to discover I do deal with needles a bit better than in the past, even if my shoulders are a little sore today. The nurse was great, she started with the smallest needle (painless) and ended with the largest (ouch).

The Onion is beautiful this week, ending a long stretch of descent into a bitterness lacking in humor.

People keep referring to the terrorist attacks as "incomprehensible". What's so incomprehensible about it? People hate the United States. If we pulled our heads out of the sand for a moment and paid attention to the rest of the world, we'd know that. Ask Armenians, Bosnians, Rwandans about death (and that's just the past decade, and not even an exhaustive list). We interfere with other nations, but only those we think are acting against our interests, and we cloak our selfishness in a veneer of morality. But we choose our targets selectively: we whole-heartedly condemn the Taliban for their psychopathic version of Islam (never mind that we've been giving them money to destroy the opium poppy fields the Afghans need to survive), but we leave Saudi Arabia alone, even though they're not all that much better. We need that economic relationship, so they get a pass.

Remember the Gulf War? 1991 or so? We still have troops in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, home of Mecca and a variety of other Muslim holy sites. No wonder the extremists think we're planning an occupation.

We're insisting that our war on terrorism is not a war on Islam, but the administration is not choosing its words to convey that. No one is talking about terrorism without mentioning Islamic extremists. Someone clued them in that they should avoid the word "crusade", but they still named the project "Operation Infinite Justice"--meaning that (a) there's no end in sight, and (b) when you translate that into Arabic, you get the name for the kind of justice only Allah can dispense. The rhetoric is at the level of "we're going to rid the world of evil": at once stupid, ignorant, inflammatory and offensive. At this point in history, among developed nations, only in America could this adolescent posturing be a rallying cry.

There is also this excellent editorial. How bad will it get? There is a lot of hope to be had...we have many forces struggling against each other right now, and many of them are towards caution and preserving what is good about America.

I don't know. I want to get the hell out of here. I have my own trip to go on for a while.